The Foundation for Child Development conducted a study on the best (and worst) states to raise children. The results were based on 28 indicators in seven categories, including health, family, economic well- being and community engagement. The six states with the worst scores are New Mexico, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Nevada, and Arizona.
As a father of two living in Arizona, this is no surprise. There is very little positive recreation for kids to participate in. My son plays football, but it kills me to watch him practice in 105+ degree heat in August. If you’re looking for nature, you will have to drive at least 3 hours to the north before you find a real tree.
Malls, ice skating rinks, movie theaters…that’s all there is to do here for kids and they all involve being indoors (out of the heat). Growing up, I would often walk to a nearby stream or lake and catch crawdads, tadpoles and go fishing. I don’t think the kiddos would have as much fun hunting for coyotes, scorpions and snakes.
A majority of the teenagers here really are punks. I know, I know…this sounds like every teenager everywhere…but, it’s different in Arizona. There is a very strong “thug” culture here, which you even see among soccer moms and dads. Everyone has to be a tough guy and hang with their “homies”. I have seen these kids tell police officers what they can do with themselves and where they can stick it. Granted, kids are like that everywhere but that attitude is prevalent in Arizona. Read more about the people of Arizona.
Fortunately, my children are still young and I plan to have the family relocated before their teenage years. Every single day, I am planning my escape from Arizona.